Book Review: The 5th Wave

The 5th Wave
Published By: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: May 2013
Page Count: 457
Source: Library - Audiobook
Audience: Young Adult - Dystopian, Science Fiction

So you loved The Hunger Games and are disappointed in the other YA dystopian/end-of-the-world novels you’ve tried? The Fifth Wave, by Rick Yancey, is the book you’re looking for. 

Aliens have decided they want our planet, and they’re taking it from us one wave at a time. They started with a massive electromagnetic pulse that killed our electrical technology. The aliens followed it with earthquakes and tsunamis. Then came the pestilence. The fourth wave began when the aliens began inserting themselves into human bodies, and now no one can be trusted. Unluckily, Cassie has survived the first four waves of attack. Survival means being alone, but her only reason to go on is to rescue her little brother, Sam. 

Rick Yancey is poised to become one of my new favorite YA authors because the man knows how to create tension and suspense. Cassie goes from typical teenager to wild-eyed survivalist through a series of terrifying events, each leaving scars on her body and in her soul. When she is rescued by a mysterious stranger named Evan Walker, Cassie must decide if she can trust him and whether he can help her find Sam. Every step of the way, I was drawn into Cassie’s turmoil and pain. 

 Another thing that impressed me about this alien invasion story is how “alien” the aliens are. In most of the first contact stories I’ve read, the aliens interact with humans in some way; they might be peaceful, they might be out to steal our planet or enslave us, but the aliens always initiate some kind of contact. Not so in The Fifth Wave. The aliens park their ship above the planet using their far superior technology to systematically wipe humanity off the earth. No demands, no announcements, no warning, just annihilation. The aliens’ inscrutability added so much to the story. 

 What bugs me about The Fifth Wave is humanity’s seeming lack of military response to the aliens. It may have been because the story is mainly told from the viewpoint of a couple of teenagers, but it just kind of felt like humanity just rolled over. We should have been trying to nuke the alien ship out of the sky or something. Even a huge EMP shouldn’t have been enough to completely take out our defenses. 

 No audio book review is complete without mentioning the readers. Phoebe Strole and Brandon Espinoza breathed so much life into Yancey’s characters. They drew me in with their portrayals of Cassie, Ben and Evan. I will definitely be looking for books read by them in the future! 

 The movie came out a couple of weeks ago, and my husband said it had a fair amount of holes in it. So this is my plug to not judge the book by its movie. The Fifth Wave is well worth your time to read, and I’m off to put the audio version of the sequel on my TBR list!

After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.

Now, it's the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth's last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie's only hope for rescuing her brother-or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.


  1. Savings in Seconds sent me to say hi! :)

  2. My daughter loved The Hunger Games series! This looks like something she would like. Thanks for sharing, Savings in Seconds sent me :)


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